At Cross Purposes | 10th November – 23rd December 2023

At Cross Purposes

Three-way conversations between two artists and a curator

Preview: Friday 10th November 7pm

Exhibition continues until 23rd December.

Exhibition open Weds – Sat 11am-9pm

At Cross Purposes is a creative curatorial project supported by 56 Group Wales that has led to the production of new work and new partnerships, a touring exhibition and accompanying book. The title of the project reflects its mix of conversation, creative practice, and curation. The purpose of the project has extended members’ creative practice through partnerships with artists from across geographical, generational, and thematic borders to re-identify 56 Group Wales not just as the modernist avant-garde group it started out as in 1956, but as a cognizant, creative, collective, and critical contributor to contemporary art in Wales. The project builds on and continues what has already been started by the group itself.

The project required that sixteen members of 56 Group Wales each be partnered with an invited artist from elsewhere in the UK and Ireland as selected by the project director, Dr Frances Woodley. Each pair of artists were then invited to engage with her in a three-way conversation/correspondence using email. Thirty-two artists and a curator have thus been involved in this project over a period of time that spanned the Covid-19 lockdowns when artists were often confined to makeshift studios. The curation of the exhibition reflects these conversations through the pairing of artists’ works.

Conversation is both a meeting of minds and a talking at cross purposes. Change occurs during this process which, in turn, becomes the subject of further conversation. Correspondents have needed to be to be reflective, reflexive, and generous—each party seeking out the best in the other.

Though highly structured, the outcome of the project was not prescribed. Tiffany Oben, 56 Group Wales member, summarised it thus:

‘There is a sense of setting something in motion, to allow it the freedom to evolve, to see what becomes of it and where it leads. The project will result in an unspecified exchange of some kind, an act of generosity and openness in an attempt to find understanding through ‘conversation’ establishing the Other as co-creator[possibly]. In this way, the artist becomes explorer [collaborator, contributor, sharer, friend]and the proposed process becomes the practice regardless of expertise and preferences for media’.

’We live in a time when borders, identities and loyalties are being called into question. The ways in which many artists approach this situation is by undertaking creative and dialogical practice with others. Dialogue exposes artists and their practice to the unfamiliar and overlooked and generates new perspectives. Dr Frances Woodley, Project Director


Robert Harding & Tim Dodds, Martyn Jones & Martin Finnin, Sue Hiley Harris & Michael Geddis, Luis Tapia & Louise Manifold, Carol Hiles & Jane Rainey, Peter Spriggs & Christine Roychowdhury, Dilys Jackson & Keith Brown, Alison Lochhead & Judith Tucker, Pete Williams & Mark Doyle, Ken Elias & Morwenna Morrison, Harvey Hood & Molly Thompson, Rhodri Rees & Ellen Mitchinson, Sue Hunt & Paula Mac Arthur, Kay Keogh & Michelle McKeown, Tiff Oben & Garry Barker, Corinthe Rizvi & Louise Barrington